Robert Sobel, Historian
"What will they think of next!” was a 1920s saying, because new things were continually coming out. And there were new things which you could enjoy, not just for the few. So it was a period of high hope. That’s why the depression was so severe — because we started so high, we fell so low…
[In the 1920s] every part of the economy did well, except for coal mining and certain parts of agriculture. But this was a period in which the American household gets the washing machine, gets a refrigerator, goes off gas light and gets electricity in some cities, in which the family buys a car and goes on a long vacation. This didn’t occur before the 1920s.
In 1920, for the first time, the census showed that a majority of Americans lived in cities. We were becoming an urbanized society. And if you lived in a city in 1925, ’26 or thereabouts, you had all these things going for you. In addition, you were getting your first vacation. People didn’t get vacations before the 1920s. You learned how to buy goods on time, so you didn’t defer your expectations. You were working a five-and-a-half day week, not a six-day week… So things looked pretty good.
The 1968 Democratic National Convention saw a clash of political visions on the convention floor and violence outside on the streets of Chicago.
John Scopes' free speech trial pitted science against religion after the teacher presented Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in a Tennessee school.
Accused by a janitor, a respected Harvard professor was hanged for the murder of Dr. George Parkman, one of Boston's richest citizens, in 1849.
Meet the Wizard of Odd. Robert Ripley was a new media star and the most popular man in America.
America's Robin Hood who robbed not only the rich but the poor and defenseless as well, always saving the treasure for himself. Part of the Wild West collection.
The American effort to relieve starvation in Soviet Russia in 1921 during the worst natural disaster in Europe in 500 years.
A new religion called spiritualism affected the nation in the era of Abraham Lincoln, P. T. Barnum and Frederick Douglass.
Intrepid journalist Nelly Bly went on a journey around the world breaking the record of Julius Verne's fictional character.